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New Study Confirms That Yoga Improves Anxiety Symptoms

New Study Confirms That Yoga Improves Anxiety Symptoms

If you want to improve your anxiety symptoms, you may want to try yoga for relief. Yoga means union of the body and soul or individual consciousness with Universal consciousness. It allows you to see the actual reality of existence beyond just the limited ego. While liberation from body consciousness remains the real goal of yoga, it can significantly benefit one’s mental health.

Because yoga leads to perfect harmony between mind and body, your anxiety will naturally melt away once you reach the highest consciousness. When you unite your consciousness with the highest source of intelligence, your mind will cease to cause suffering to the body. While yoga in the west seems to focus more on conditioning the body, the real goal is the liberation of consciousness.

While the yogic system is designed for upgrading one’s consciousness, the benefits for the mind and body are just as significant.

Health benefits of yoga

1 – Decreases stress.

Studies have shown that the practice can decrease cortisol levels, the primary stress hormone. One study of 131 people showed that after ten weeks of consistent yoga practice, their stress and anxiety decreased dramatically.

2 – Reduces anxiety.

Yoga can help improve anxiety symptoms by promoting relaxation and stress-reduction techniques. For example, in one study of 64 women with PTSD, the women had fewer symptoms after practicing for ten weeks. 52% of participants no longer met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD after doing yoga just once weekly during the study period.

3 – Lowers inflammation.

One study in 2015 divided 218 participants into two groups. One group practiced yoga, and the other did strenuous physical exercise. At the end of the course, the yoga group had lower inflammatory markers than the non-yoga group.

4 – Improves heart health.

High blood pressure is one of the most prevalent risk factors for heart disease. One study found that participants over 40 years old who practiced yoga for five years maintained a lower pulse rate and blood pressure than the individuals who didn’t. Not to mention, yoga helps lower stress, which also contributes to heart disease risk.

5 – Helps reduce depression symptoms.

Depression remains the leading cause of disabilities worldwide; however, yoga may help alleviate these symptoms. One study found that after just two weeks of practice, participants had fewer depression symptoms and lower cortisol levels. They also had lower ACTH levels, a hormone that releases cortisol into the body.

6 – Improves sleep quality. 

Yoga can help increase the production of melatonin, which regulates sleep cycles. Lower stress levels due to yoga may also contribute to better sleep quality.

7 – Reduces chronic pain.

In one study, 42 people who struggled with carpal tunnel syndrome either did yoga for eight weeks or received wrist splints. By the end of the trial, researchers found that yoga reduced pain and improved grip strength more than the splints did.

We could list even more health benefits of yoga, but we want to discuss primarily how yoga can improve anxiety symptoms. Millions of people suffer with different types of anxiety disorders worldwide, and symptoms may range from mild to severe. However, yoga could provide a cure to this often debilitating disease.

Here’s how yoga can help ease anxiety symptoms:

 A new study shows how yoga can ease symptoms in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). This condition causes excessive worry or nervousness about everyday life and can take over someone’s mind. People with this disorder display pronounced anxiety most days for at least six months about many different aspects of life.

Symptoms include the following:

  • Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Having difficulty concentrating, the mind drawing a blank.
  • Becoming irritable
  • Having muscle tensions
  • Difficulty in controlling feelings of concern, fear, or worry
  • Having sleep problems. These issues include difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep

The research on generalized anxiety disorder

Anyone with anxiety knows of the great suffering that can come with this disorder. It feels like you have little to zero control over your mind and body, and some people even experience dissociation in extreme cases. Scientists have found how yoga can provide relief to those suffering from GAD.

Led by a research team at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine, the study found that yoga could treat GAD better than education on stress management. However, they discovered that it didn’t improve anxiety symptoms quite as much as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

“Generalized anxiety disorder is a very common condition, yet many are not willing or able to access evidence-based treatments,” said lead study author Naomi M. Simon, MD, a professor and researcher in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health. “Our findings demonstrate that yoga, which is safe and widely available, can improve symptoms for some people with this disorder and could be a valuable tool in an overall treatment plan.”

Published August 12, 2020, in JAMA Psychiatry, the study assigned 226 men and women with GAD to three groups: CBT, Kundalini yoga, or stress-management education. After three months, researchers found that both CBT and yoga had more significant impacts on anxiety than stress management. Indeed, 54 percent of those who practiced yoga had significant improvements in symptoms compared to only 33 percent in the stress management group. In the CBT group, 71 percent met the symptom improvement criteria.

At the six month follow-up, the CBT group still showed more significant improvements than the stress education group (the control group). However, yoga no longer had the same benefits, suggesting that CBT may improve anxiety symptoms more effectively.

The study

 For the CBT group, the study used an evidence-based protocol for the treatment of GAD. This therapy included the following:

  • education on psychology;
  • cognitive interventions focused on identifying and correcting maladaptive thoughts;
  • muscle relaxation techniques.

The Kundalini yoga group learned physical postures, breathing techniques, relaxation exercises, yoga theory, and meditation/mindfulness. The stress-management education control group listened to lectures about how stress affects the physiological, psychological, and medical aspects of health. They also learned how lifestyle factors could improve anxiety symptoms, such as reducing alcohol and smoking, eating healthy, and exercising. They listened to educational material on stress, lifestyle, and diet for homework assignments as well.

Three to six participants at a time received one of the three treatments over 12 weeks. They had weekly two-hour sessions with 20 minutes of daily homework assignments.

So, does yoga improve anxiety symptoms?

Currently, around 6.8 million Americans suffer from a generalized anxiety disorder. Unfortunately, many of them don’t get proper treatment for it out of shame, fear, or lack of resources. It can impair someone’s life if not treated properly, however. Most people have expressed feelings of anxiety at some point in their life; however, it becomes a disorder when it significantly impacts daily routines.

The study above shows that, while yoga can effectively ease symptoms of anxiety, CBT still ranks highest in treating the disorder. Medications can also treat anxiety, but not everyone wants to take the risk of having adverse side effects or complications from them. Also, the lack of access to medication or therapy prevents many people from seeing improvements in their anxiety symptoms. Because of this, yoga may prove useful for those who have no other options, as you can practice for free in your own home.

“Many people already seek complementary and alternative interventions, including yoga, to treat anxiety,” said Dr. Simon. “This study suggests that at least short-term there is significant value for people with a generalized anxiety disorder to give yoga a try to see if it works for them. Yoga is well-tolerated, easily accessible, and has several health benefits.”

Dr. Simon suggests that research in the future should try to narrow down who would benefit the most from yoga for GAD. That way, therapists and healthcare providers can personalize treatment to ensure better results for their patients.

“We need more options to treat anxiety because different people will respond to different interventions, and having more options can help overcome barriers to care,” she said. “Having a range of effective treatments can increase the likelihood people with anxiety will be willing to engage in evidence-based care.”

Final thoughts on how yoga can improve anxiety symptoms

As the study above shows, yoga has a vast potential to ease symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. The practice helps promote feelings of calm and relaxation by reducing cortisol levels, and it brings awareness back into the body. The best part is that anyone in any age group can do yoga and reap all the benefits from it. No matter what ailment you may suffer from, you can see results from the practice if you keep consistency.

While cognitive-behavioral therapy still comes out on top for treating anxiety, this doesn’t mean you can’t practice yoga as well. Plus, it provides an excellent option for those who don’t have access to therapy or don’t feel comfortable with it. Besides, yoga does more than improve anxiety symptoms – it also lessens depression, inflammation, and chronic pain. If you haven’t started your practice, you can find plenty of free resources online to help you.


Science Reveals 7 Ways Starting a Business Improves Health

Science Reveals 7 Ways Starting a Business Improves Health

Do you dream of starting a business? Many people have entrepreneurial aspirations, but they never get beyond the dreaming phase because they are crippled by fear. The concerns you have of failure and going bankrupt may cause you to stay in a job that is draining you physically and emotionally.

However, did you know that some mental health professionals believe that starting a business can bring your personal fulfillment and improve your health? It sounds strange, but when you toss the stress of working for someone else and the stringent schedule that comes with it, then you can change your entire life for the better.

It’s all about personal fulfillment. When you are fulfilling your needs in your career, it bubbles over into your personal and spiritual life. If you’re on the fence about starting such a venture, then there are some things to consider. There are many ways that starting a business could improve your health.

7 Ways Starting a Business Can Improve Your Health

Yes, starting a business can mean taking an enormous leap fo fair.  But many who choose self-employment reap some surprising health benefits.

starting a business

1. You Can Make Time for Exercise

Being the boss brings fulfillment because you get to call the shots. While you prioritize daily and weekly tasks, why not exercise on your schedule? Getting your body to move is especially important if your business keeps you sedentary.

You don’t need a fully equipped gym and a personal trainer to incorporate light exercise at work. Did you know that walking is one of the best activities you can do? There’s nothing like a brisk stroll around the block during lunch or another break.

Do you need to be at a desk for most of the day? Give your muscles a break and stand periodically to stretch, touch your toes, or jog in place. Get creative, and you can add more ways to exercise on your schedule and stay healthy.

Working from home allows you the freedom and the time to focus on your health like never before. Exercise is just as important as paying your mortgage payment. You need it to thrive.

2. You Will Meet New and Exciting People

Forget the mundane; one of the benefits of starting a business is that you will get to meet all sorts of people. Since you must position yourself as the face of the company, your interactions with others will increase. Do you like to mingle with the rich and famous, or are you drawn to those who march to the beat of their own drum?

Life is full of wonderfully diverse people, and they are waiting to find someone like you. Think of how much richer your life will be when you meet people from other countries, business owners like yourself, and those who made their way by climbing the corporate ladder. You’re in for a real adventure, and it’s going to be the ride of your life.

3. You Can Finally Make Family A Priority

The ability to have more family time may be one of the reasons you want to start a business. When you work for others, you must go through the process of requesting time off for special occasions or vacations. Many employers consider indispensability and seniority when granting requests, and your application may be denied.

When you own the business, you create the schedule. While you still must be aware of your customers’ needs, you can shift things around without asking permission from anyone. You know the demands of your business. Soon you will learn your peak times and can plan your schedule accordingly.

When most people reach the twilight of their lives, no one wishes they had been in the office more. One of the greatest regrets of folks is not having more family time. Money and prestige are of no comfort to those who are passing, personal fulfillment is important, but family is everything.

Of course, you work hard to ensure that your loved ones have what they need, especially when you are gone. Starting a business allows you to plan for retirement while making quality family time a priority.

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4. You Can Improve Your Self Worth

For any business to succeed, owners and managers must empower their employees to prosper. As a business owner, how would your employees feel if you treated them the way you treat yourself? Would they be content, or would they resign?

That Golden Rule only works if the converse is true, that you treat yourself the same way you should treat other people. You can’t be at the helm of your ship if you don’t take care of yourself. Self-employment is a holistic approach that compasses the mind, body, and spirit.

In addition to observing a healthy diet and fitness regimen at work and spending quality time with your family, you need time for yourself. When you are exhausted, overstressed, and emotionally spent, you can’t be the business owner you need to be.

Now is your chance to change things in your life and take care of you. Just because you own the business doesn’t mean that you must shoulder all the responsibilities. If you need help, ask, or delegate jobs to an employee.

The beauty of working or yourself is that if you feel tired and stressed, you can set aside a few minutes to rest your eyes and meditate. Sometimes, taking a break away from your desk and taking a little walk will revitalize your body and senses. Know your limitations and prioritize your schedule to minimize undue stress.

5. You Become a Planning and Organizational Expert

If you’ve never been an organized person, you will quickly learn the importance of having everything in place. When starting a business, you’ll depend on being able to find documents at a moment’s notice. You will learn the importance of planning and scheduling your days.

You won’t have a scheduling clerk to grumble to anymore as you will oversee preparations for the next week in advance. With your new skills in planning and organization, you are sure to succeed. Plus, when you become so organized in your business life, it should rub off into your personal life too.

6. You Can Make Time to Change Your Eating Habits

Remember the days of gathering for coffee during break or lunch at work? Instead of eating sensible snacks and a light lunch, people were drawn to the abundant box of stale donuts and junk food dangling in the vending machines. No wonder you had a sugar rush that ended in an energy slump every workday.

The temptation can be even more significant to overeat or sustain on junk food when you own a business, but you can have a healthy lunch. Poor eating habits are especially prevalent for entrepreneurs who travel for their job. Such diets can be detrimental to your health and can potentially shorten your lifespan.

Since you’re starting a business, it’s a good time to change to a healthy eating plan. While you are exercising, nothing could be better than incorporating a healthy lunch along with it. Keep nutritious, low-calorie snacks portioned in small bags to grab when you get the munchies. Instead of sugar-laden sodas, stock your work fridge with bottled water and add some lemon or other fruits.

Plus, you can brew your coffee and tea instead of spending a fortune at the local coffee shop in the mornings too.

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7. Your Mental Health Will Improve

Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life. ~Mark Twain

Novelist Mark Twain stated that choosing a job was important because when you’re doing something, you love it doesn’t feel like work. His wise observation doesn’t mean that you won’t struggle and work hard when starting a business. However, this journey is about finding what you love and doing it well.

What do you need for personal fulfillment? While you do want enough cash and resources to live, achievement transcends materialism. Many studies reveal that when people love what they do, they are often more content and happier than those who make much more money and hate their job.

When you are happy and content, your anxiety and stress will reduce. You may find that you have a bounce in your step and a song in your heart. Loving what you do can change your entire outlook on life, and it can make you a better person.

starting a businessFinal Thoughts on Starting a Business–A Fresh Start in Life

One of the most powerful sayings speaks to someone who is afraid to jump and take a chance. It challenges you to consider the following:

What if I fall? But Darling, what if you fly? ~Erin Hanson

Ask yourself that very question today.

Sure, taking on a new adventure is scary, and there are so many unknowns. You may fail, but you may be as successful as Apple, Google, or Mattel. You determine your destiny. It all starts with a dream and then taking that dream and daring to make it a reality.

Remember, you are one decision away from an entirely different life. Are you up for the challenge? Starting a business may be the ticket to the fulfillment you have always dreamed of.